Kleenex handy? Good, because "Dancing with the Stars" went for the water works, having the celebrities perform a dance about the best year of their lives.
Slam on the brakes! Where's reality star Lisa Vanderpump? Gleb walks down those endless stairs on his own. Rehearsal video shows Lisa fainting and collapsing (while Gleb seems glib, standing there unconcerned). Host Tom Bergeron says that Lisa did not rehearse today on doctor's orders, and Lisa won't decide until "later" if she will dance or not.
Which means she will. As if that decision will be made during the airtime. This show is just milking the drama. But, fine, DWTS, have it your way – we'll play along.
But who can worry about life and death issues when we have to get through ten dances?
Enter Sean Lowe and Peta doing a Viennese waltz. Sean says his best year was 2012 because he was on "The Bachelor" where he met his fiancé, Catherine. (He better pick 2012, or else Catherine might be rethinking their wedding.) Sean dances to Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up." It's tender and touching, and Sean seems a bit stiff still, but he's putting his heart into it. At the end, he breaks free from Peta to do a solo dance toward Catherine, who's sitting in the audience, and kisses her. Judge Len Goodman calls it pretty good for a difficult dance. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba announces the lift police is back, and docks a point for a lift. (If I have to hear Carrie Ann go all banshee and caw about lifts every five minutes…) Score: 20 out of 30.
Boxer Victor Ortiz and Lindsay are up with a paso doble. He picks Queen's "We Will Rock You" because it was playing when he won welterweight boxing champ in 2011. He has a so-so solo to start, but the dance looks powerful. Maybe too powerful. He seems to get messed up a couple times. Judge Bruno Tonioli says Victor needs to dance it, not destroy it. Len said he likes the determination but Victor needs refinement. Score: 18.
NFL star Jacoby Jones picks 2012 because the Ravens won the Super Bowl and his son was born. Jacoby and Karina do a foxtrot with an energetic start that they make look easy. For his solo, Jacoby dances over to his adorable son in the audience, pinwheeling his big arms everywhere. Carrie Ann thinks Jacoby did a great job expressing joy. Len loves when big guys try to be elegant. Score: 24.
Olympian Aly Raisman picks summer of 2012 because she represented USA in the Olympics, entering as the underdog, and leaving as the most decorated medalist on the US gymnastic team. Aly dances to David Guetta's "Titanium" for her contemporary with Mark. It starts with her doing a willowy solo and a handspring. She said training for the Olympics was the hardest thing she's had to do in her life, and the choreography perfectly conveys her emotional turmoil and struggle. Her movements are strong, she doesn't miss a beat, and ends with four flips – before pulling Mark along who's literally holding onto her ankles. The crowd loves it. Len says it's a dance worthy of an Olympic champ. Bruno says, forget titanium – she's going for the gold. Carrie Ann says she's proud of Aly for conveying emotion in a contemporary. Score: 27.
Actor Andy Dick says 2013 is the best year of his life because he's sober and DWTS gave him a big chance. Andy says it's not easy for his kids to have him as a father, so he's dedicating the dance to his teenage daughter, picking Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." This Viennese waltz is soft, tender and caring. Andy has good lines, decent footwork. Frankly, it's a whole different Andy Dick. For his solo dance, he shadow dances with an invisible partner – obviously his daughter. A lot of heart in this dance. When it's done, Carrie Ann is bawling. She needs a hug from Andy. Bruno says it was straight from the heart. Carrie Ann calls it beautiful. Len says, whatever the results, Andy will leave the show a hero. Andy says he wanted to make the dance special in case it was his last. Score: 21. I think they underscored him.
Based on Twitter, it looks like Andy moved a lot of fans. He posted a picture of himself with his daughter, tweeting, "My daughter, Meg & I after #DWTS @DancingABC http://instagram.com/p/X322RiCtHx/ ."
Disney star Zendaya picks 2009 because she started working in Los Angeles and got discovered by Disney. She also picks a Beyonce song because she saw her concert that year. Her samba has a jazzy solo opening, but this kid is such a freaking natural. She spins around Val with great lines and ease of motion. She just floats and softshoes across the floor, seemingly without thinking about it. Carrie Ann calls her Samba Fierce. (Good one.) Len nitpicks, but calls her a great dancer. Bruno says every kid wants to dance like her. Score: 26.
Soap star Ingo Rademacher picks 2009 because it's the year he got married to the woman he clearly adores. For his Viennese waltz, he starts with a solo shadow dance, looking for a partner. Ingo looks suave and effortless with Kym, but some of his movements still seem oddly clumsy. Len likes his footwork. Bruno says he keeps getting better. Carrie Ann says Ingo is listening to their advice and improving. Score: 23.
Comedian D.L. Hughley says his best year was 8 th grade because he was sweet and innocent. His foxtrot with Cheryl starts with him acting nerdy. Oddly, his stiffness seems to lend itself to the proper posture of a foxtrot. He rushes the judges' desk, shakes his hips, before gesturing for the judges to kiss his posterior. D.L. crawls on all fours, for some reason, and actually smiles the whole time. An unconventional foxtrot, but his best dance yet. Bruno says the tough love from the judges worked, because D.L. had more content and a better performance. Carrie Ann calls it a breakthrough. Len says it was fun and smooth. Score: 21. D.L. can't believe it.
Country singer Kellie Pickler picks 2011 because that's when she got married to her husband. He's actually on stage, playing guitar and singing the song for her rumba with Derek. The shapes that Kellie creates while dancing look great, and her face looks incredibly solemn and focused. Her solo has her rolling on the floor before strolling over to her husband. (Side note: A cutaway shows Victor blowing in Jacoby's ear and Jacoby swatting him away like a fly. Random alert!) Carrie Ann says Kellie makes beautiful shapes with her body, but her movements were a little clipped. Len says her dance drew everybody in. Score: 26.
Okay, that's everybody, except for Lisa – and there's 15 minutes left. Hmm… will she dance? Duh!
After passing out during rehearsal Friday, Lisa has been resting, and she didn't rehearse before the show. She has to fly to New York and back, skipping a whole night's sleep, which lead to her fainting. The doctors tells her to get some rest. Lisa picks 2011, when her daughter got married. She and Gleb tackle a cha cha. She has lots of energy, so maybe missing rehearsal and resting was good for that. The downside of missing rehearsal is that it looks like she missed rehearsals. Len says it could have been crisper. Bruno notes some mistakes, but thinks Lisa did well. Score: 18.
The elimination episode is Tuesday night at 9:00 on ABC. Who'll be in the bottom? Good chance we may see Lisa there again, probably alongside Victor and maybe Andy, though he probably got some votes for his touching waltz.
Quote a lineup of performances for the elimination episode, with Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Lopez, Brad Paisley.
More information can be found at: http://abc.go.com/primetime/dancingwiththestars/index .